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HOT sum­mer days spent en­joy­ing the sun out­side are best done spar­ingly this time of year be­fore re­treat­ing in­side.

Sadly, your out­door plants have no such lux­ury, so if you want to keep your gar­den healthy this sum­mer, it is a good idea to look for the species made of tougher stuff.

Yates hor­ti­cul­tur­ist Angie Thomas says drought-tol­er­ant plants will help keep the main­te­nance to a min­i­mum.

“Drought tol­er­ant doesn’t mean that you can plant it and never look at it or wa­ter it again,” Thomas says.

“They are adap­tive to not us­ing as much wa­ter and lose less mois­ture through their fo­liage.”

Many Aus­tralian na­tive clas­sics, such as banksias, bot­tle­brushes, and wat­tles, will fit this de­scrip­tion nicely.

“All of the species that have been here since the be­gin­ning have had to adapt to hot, dry con­di­tions,” she says.

“Not only can you have a gar­den that is less re­liant on wa­ter, you can have some­thing that looks re­ally at­trac­tive as well and the birds and bees will love you for it.”

Thomas says clever plant breed­ing over re­cent years has led to new cul­ti­vars of na­tive plants that

Opt for deep wa­ter­ing ev­ery so of­ten over shal­low wa­ter­ing reg­u­larly — it helps your plant put down a good root sys­tem

They may not drink as much but na­tive plants do like to be fed. Try or­ganic ma­nure-based fer­tilis­ers to help them look their best

Wa­ter daily for the first month if you are plant­ing them in the sum­mer time are more suited to a back­yard, such as dwarf va­ri­eties of banksias, gre­vil­leas and kan­ga­roo paws.

“They are more compact, they flower of­ten for a longer pe­riod and they are more pest re­silient,” she says. “They’re re­ally handy when it comes to grow­ing plants in pots be­cause pots tend to try out a lot quicker than when in the ground.”

While drought-tol­er­ant plants need to be wa­tered reg­u­larly for the first month, af­ter that Thomas says many of them can sur­vive mostly on rain­fall.

“It’s nice to give them a bit of a drink the night be­fore a real scorcher,” she says.

“A lot of them ben­e­fit from trim­ming and prun­ing — it keeps them from look­ing like sticks.”

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